Its been march break and when I get a chance I tend to browse around looking for resources to use. Not just for what I teach now but what I may teach in the future. I also tend to like to learn something in the process. I ran into a few things that I would like to share with you.

First is an oldie but I want to offer it up. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute hosts a website called The HHMI has lecture series every Christmas holiday during which experts form the field invite high school students into a series of lectures on a chosen topic. The lectures have included AIDS/HIV, Evolution, stem cells and more. If you are unfamiliar with them I suggest you check them out. They have them in podcast format which are great for students to watch on long bus rides and they offer all the series FREE on DVD. Check iT!

Second: I would love to have a nature magazine subscription but the costs are restrictively high. And I’m cheap. But does allow you to register and get freebies. Many of the news articles are open access in html and pdf format. A recent example of an excellent freebie on water distribution on Earth can be seen here. The weekly podcast is also free but I find it less useful as a learning/teaching device. However, it could be used as an exemplar for student podcast productions. The Nature podcast index is here. More? Yep! Another nice set of freebies include a set of flash based animations and videos. Some topics include the Dikika hominid find in Ethiopia obviously having evolutionary content. Human gut microbes discusses our inner flora and thoughts on their evolution. There is a video on how the two moons of Pluto were discovered. You can check these out and more at the Nature videoarchive for free.

Third: I’m a huge fan of the open source movement and I poopoo proprietary software and science. Private science hinders the advancement of scientific progress for private financial gain. I’ll stop at that and plan to write something on it later. However, there is a movement afoot amoungst the scientific community to make science reporting open access. One of the journals on the forefront of this movement is the PLOSone, open access online journal. If you are looking for original science articles for students to use and learn from then it is a great resource. There are seven different journals to browse through. An interesting aspect of the journal is the facebook group that is available. I’m actually signing up right now! For more details you can watch this flash video.

Fourth: Proteopedia is a wiki site dedicated to offering 3D, pdb visuals using Jmol. There are many 3D manipulative molecule viewers [rasmol, Pymol +] that are great for higher level biology students to ‘see’ the shape and organization of protein primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary stucture. Often the interaction between cofactors can be viewed as well. One of my favorites is Hemoglobin which is available. An excellent dovetail to this site would be the RCSB molecule of the month site. I suggest you check them both out. I had students pick a molecule and had to provide the details of the molecule via in class presentation. We spread out the presentations throughout the year to remind students of the importance of proteins. So  the hemoglobin presentation occurred during our gas exchange unit. Acetylcholinesterase was presented during innervation. Photosystem I in the plant biology or energetics sections. Lots of great stuff. Oh I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention the BioMed Central open access provider.

This is getting long and I’m afraid I’m going to lose it. I’ll do another of these soon. It would be nice to get feedback and say thanks if you read this. If nothing else I suppose it will help me remember all the great resources available. Ciao

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